When I think about my fears for parenting, I can only think of the first three months. Of course, I get a pit in my stomach when I think about teenagers with cell phones, searching the internet (whatever THAT looks like 15 years from now…), saw a man with a face covered in tattoos and turned to Croi, “How are we going to make sure our child never gets a tattoo on.his.face!?!”, and wonder how I will console the hundreds of inconsolable heartbreaks.
Not to mention the inevitable question of, “What will you do if they leave?”
But, I am really focused on the first three months. I think that will be the biggest adjustment period. And, I want to feel well and strong and be able to appreciate the blessings we have.
I am terrified of the lack of sleep. Terrified. I am scared of what the change in sleep patterns will do to me. Two of the top risk factors for change in mood (depressed or manic episode) are stress and lack of sleep. Stress and lack of sleep. Isn’t that the definition of parenting a newborn? (Oh, and there are some big job changes going on right now, too.)
Also, I am really scared that I won’t know the difference between normal parenting and not normal. Most new parents feel tired, scared, overwhelmed, exhausted, on-edge, anxious…. How will I know if what I am feeling is normal?
That makes me very sad. I believe I have had some form of mood disorder since I was at least 7. I don’t really have a “normal” to look back on. There is a lot I missed. Not outwardly to most people, of course. But, I know it. I don’t have a normal time to compare things to. I worry that I won’t know the difference between normal parenting stress, and time to call the psychiatrist stressed. And it makes me really sad. Like even though I am doing well, this depression still haunts me in this way. It can rob me even when I am strong.
I have some plans in place–my psychiatrist told me to call him. Frequently. Wonderful man said, “I’d rather you call me ten times and have me tell you you’re fine than not call me when you should have.” I lucked out there.
Croi and I have talked about some sleep accommodations–to try to preserve some solid hours of sleep for me. And, of course I use moodchart.
But, I’m still terrified.
I want to be able to enjoy my new child, and feel secure in my own body. Not have to worry about second and third guessing myself. I don’t want to have a breakdown, and take any attention away from where it should be–the new person joining our family.